At the time of this writing, 10 states allow the recreational use of marijuana and medical marijuana is legal in 33 states. There is still a lot of debate over the benefits and risks of using marijuana. This has led to many people experimenting with the drug and even using it to self-medicate for conditions like depression.
However, given marijuana’s history as a controlled substance, we don’t have research with conclusive results outlining short-term and long-term effects just yet. In the cases of those with depression, there is a chance that self-medication with marijuana could lead to worsening symptoms and other complications.
The Difference Between Recreational and Medicinal Marijuana
Marijuana alters the way your brain operates. Like other drugs, a euphoric rush can mask difficult feelings and even physical pain. The drug has the ability to impact the regulation of emotions, fear and anxiety, and it also affects your ability to make decisions, think critically and have effective coordination. Other aspects of the drug can interact with your reward and motivation drives.
These effects are largely driven by the amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) that are in marijuana. CBD can help reduce pain, nausea and anxiety, which is why marijuana is seen to be a good replacement for anti-depressants.
Potential Side Effects of Marijuana Use for Depression
As we mentioned, there isn’t a lot of conclusive research just yet on marijuana’s effectiveness in treating depression. However, it appears it may cause a small increase in the risk of depressive disorders and should not be the sole treatment for depression.
Increased exposure can raise tolerance, which may lead to even more use and ultimately dependence on the drug. The combination of addiction and mental health struggles is serious and should be treated immediately.
Other side effects that can complicate depression may occur depending on how the drug is administered, including:
- Schizophrenic or psychotic episodes (mostly in those already predisposed)
- Increased apathy
- Tendency towards isolation
- Reduction in ability to perform at your normal level
- Respiratory issues
Healthier, Proven Ways to Treat Depression
Marijuana should not be the sole treatment for depression. More effective methods include:
- Reducing stress and responsibilities
- Adding structure to your day
- Engaging with support groups and therapy
- Experimenting with new hobbies and experiences like the arts, exercise, meditation and yoga
- Taking antidepressant medication under the supervision of a medical professional
Depending on the severity of your depressive symptoms, your doctor may prescribe a combination of these proven techniques for managing your condition.
Treatment for Depression and Addiction in Florida
Can marijuana treat depression? The current research is conflicting. While some of the feelings associated with depression can be temporarily alleviated, there is a correlation between those who struggle with the condition and marijuana use. It is strongly recommended that you seek the advice of medical and mental health professionals before using any drug, particularly for depression. The risk of complication is too great.
At Footprints Beachside Recovery, our caring, knowledgeable addiction specialists can work with you to develop a treatment plan that addresses your individual needs. You won’t get a cookie-cutter approach to addiction recovery here. Instead, we’ll work with you to create a customized recovery approach that works for you. Why? Because we are invested in your success.
Contact us today for more information on how we can help you heal from addiction and depression.